In the month of October 2019, there have been events in Latin America and in the world that mark a time of people in the streets and struggle. Let’s start by analyzing the scenario in the Middle East.
Originally published by Anarkismo.
Joint analysis of the conjuncture: Latin America and the world move
In the month of October 2019, there have been events in Latin America and in the world that mark a time of people in the streets and struggle. Let’s start by analyzing the scenario in the Middle East.
Kurdistan: the resistance continues
The struggle of the Kurdish people has entered a new stage. The attack of the legalized dictatorship of the Erdogan AKP, that is to say of the Turkish government, was predictable. On the one hand, we have the consolidation of the experience of the Northern Federation of Syria, that peculiar experience of transit to socialism that takes place in the framework of a cruel and bloody war, fighting against Islamic fascism. On the other hand, the Turkish State – which organizes groups like ISIS and others of the same type-, bombards the population and intends to take over a strip of territory of 14 thousand square kilometers, to transplant the refugee population. Logically, that population does not respond to Kurdish people’s organizations.
At the moment, the Turkish State has advanced and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, including children and the elderly, with the purpose of sweeping the PKK in Syria. The proposal of this party and its militias – YPG and YPJ – is the construction of Democratic Confederalism, a proposal of strong grassroots, socialist and federalist roots. This experience is a “bad example” for all the States of the region and for the intervening powers such as Russia and the USA. All are enemies of this process in one way or another, and they are enemies of the Kurdish people fighting for their freedom.
This experience of communal character is developing in a third of the Syrian territory including Arab and Armenian population, among other nationalities and also people of other religions. Instead of a fratricidal war, the Kurdish people and their organizations have built in Rojava a socialist experience with liberating profile, with great popular prominence, especially of women and those groups that have always been the focus of the domination of the capitalist system in all of its scope.
Kurdish militias defeated the Islamic State with a balance of 11 thousand dead combatants. The Kurdish people have paid a high price, but that has been its history, a history of Resistance and combat against all forms of oppression. All our solidarity and support for the struggle of the Kurdish people, an example of dignity. All our rejection of any attempt at invasion and intervention in Rojava.
Lebanon and Iraq: the people go out
Neoliberalism causes people to turn to the streets. In America Latin, in Europe or in the Middle East. On the entire planet. Lebanon and Iraq are not an exception. Before an orthodox pack, the Lebanese people turned to the streets. Little press covered the fact and they even talked about US and Saudi Arabia interests after the mobilizations to destabilize the regime that would have some affinity with Iran. But the truth is that between anti-popular measures, the people went out and gained massive presence in the streets. The same happened in Iraq, territory years ago affected by the direct intervention of imperialism, where massive mobilizations against the ruler class began on October 1, primarily responsible for rising unemployment, the shortage of basic services and the precariousness of living conditions. The response of government was a bloody repression, which left a balance – today- of 300 dead and more than 15 thousand injured, which did not prevent, however, higher levels of mobilization in the popular sectors. These mobilizations of Lebanon and Iraq are carried out at the same time as the ones in the Chilean people.
Palestine: genocide continues in Gaza
The government of Benjamin Netanyahu persists in eliminating -both politically and physically- any expression that denounces the policies of Apartheid that promotes the State of Israel. The order to deport Omar Shakir caused great stir. He is a Human Right Watch (HRW) representative for Palestine and Israel and was accused of supporting the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). Videos of murders committed by the army of occupation have been made public. Those murders were committed at the commemoration of the death of the historic leader Yasser Arafat, on November 11, which also left several journalists injured and incapacitated for life. Days later, and after the Israeli air force confirmed they had killed an Islamic Jihad leader, it began a rocket exchange on both sides of the Gaza Strip, what left about 32 people killed and 71 wounded, 30 of them being Children, all from the Palestinian side. After the mediation of Egypt, a truce was achieved between both parties. On the other hand, the National Authority Palestine (PNA) represented by the Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, announced a month before the dialogues with all the Palestinian factions began in order to carry out pending legislative elections since 2006. The Palestinian people in Gaza have suffered three wars between 2008 and 2014 and in West Bank illegal settlements and road segregation make life in the occupied territories become harder every day.
Latin America is living a complex, contradictory, non-homogeneous time, with advances from the right and the ruling classes but also with important popular struggles and resistance to the plans and policies of those above. It is not a closed, total right turn. The response of the peoples is felt and placed as protagonists of this time. There are no determinisms or fatalisms; despair should not win. The structures are expressed in a certain way in each concrete situation and in each social formation, according to its history. They do not predetermine courses of action, but they allow us to glimpse the scenario in which social classes play, that is, the class struggle of all the expressions of the oppressed. But we insist, there are no homogeneities nor can mechanical transfers of realities be made. With different rhythms, different profiles, the policies of those above and also the Popular Resistance are developed. The peoples of Latin America have in their record and in their memory wide and glorious episodes of struggle and combat.
The right turn that has taken place in the region with the ultra-right governments headed by Bolsonaro, is generating popular answers and questions. In Brazil, poverty and violence over popular sectors have grown alarmingly: we can mention unemployment of 13 million and underemployment of more than 27 million workers, to point out some social drama data.
Millions of people with informal and precarious work are screwed by the scam of miserable days and going hungry. This along with the 20% increase in the lethal action of the police against blacks and the population of the peripheries, of the oppressed classes, the sinister aggravation of the prison system and the rationalization of selective death, and counterinsurgency technology stuck in marginalized bodies and territories.
The reciprocal support, the complicity of the double adjustment-repression as a reason for a neoliberal security state where finance and its knife dominate, is in relief. Militia government stage to manage the misery in the face of the scandal of a class of super rich and great fortunes, which takes for itself more than half of all the wealth and common goods of the country. That is to say, doctors trained at the Chicago school take place in a special political configuration with the Crime Bureau of the militia police officers and every movement of activism and judicial trap that has been set in motion by Operation Lava Jato.
Bolsonaro has been implicated in the lines of investigation that lead the assassins of companion Marielle Franco. The matter, which is far from being resolved, returns to the public scene and generates some level of protest in the streets for justice and truth to meet those responsible in the Marielle case. There is also some level of differences and disputes towards the internal of the ruling classes, even among the mainstream media, where the Red Globe now wants to show itself as “democratic”, when in fact it led Bolsonaro to the government. This moment of tension in the above, and bearing in mind some discontent and rebellion from those below, is appropriate to move the field of the oppressed and generate situations of greater popular mobilization and organization.
With Lula out of prison, due to the decision of the Supreme Court on the trial rights with presumption of innocence, the sectors of the electoralist left play again for the restoration of a class agreement that does not conform to the mode of shock government of this situation. We commemorate with our people every little victory against injustice, every point of resistance that is practiced to confront the lawfare of the judicial system. But with all our political independence and with much respect for the popular affection of an important part of the country that is heading to Lula at this time, we will not forget the infamous and horrific punishment of Brazilian prisons, which is the racist and anti-poor punitive machine of the bourgeois justice. Entrusting the political exit of the Brazilian people to the freedom of Lula, so that he will be elected president again, is at least suicidal, because he does not place the demands of the Brazilian people on the street and because ultimately, the situation in that country will be solved from above. Only the people can sweep this authoritarian and neoliberal government and the social and political forces that sustain it.
In Colombia, the ESMAD – police squad of shock and repression – has taken to the streets with great harshness to repress student demonstrations, with several wounded and detained. This is part of the militarized State policy of the governments of the Colombian right, where it has been evidenced that there is no room for any “peace process”. A large number of popular militants have been killed, several of them ex-guerrillas. The return to armed action by a sector of the FARC is proof of this.
Electoral processes and the coup in Bolivia
Three electoral processes with different implications in the future of the region have been developed at the end of October: Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay.
On November 11, the former Coca-Cola trade union leader Evo Morales and the MAS IPSP in Bolivia experienced a coup d’etat, and was forced to resign from the presidency under the direct pressure of the Armed Forces and the Police, reinforced under his government, and under the pressure of large popular protests led by the right.
Morales had breached the anti-reelectionist mandate of the 2009 constitution, one of his main political achievements, as well as the result of the 2016 presidential re-election that clearly defeated him, and more importantly, the indigenous and union mandate for the collective leadership. He presented himself for the fourth time to the presidential elections with a diminished political capacity but maintaining important bases of popular support and the letter of good economic performance of the Andean-Amazonian capitalism model, the most radical expression of the progressive cycle in the region.
The development of the political model of the MAS for almost 14 years, centered on the caudillismo* around the figure of Evo Morales under the myth of the indigenous worker representation, whose decisions are taken in the party domes, using the base organizations as a van tail, forged a vertical movement that proposes solutions from above in the institutions of the bourgeoisie. The weakening of the figure of Evo Morales leaves a reference gap that opens the way for the interference of US imperialism together with the most reactionary, misogynist, racist and neo-liberal business sectors.
His main rivals in the general elections of October 2019 were former President Carlos Mesa of the Citizen Community party forced to resign in 2005 for the general strike for the nationalization of resources and now questioned about his relations with Odebrecht and the evangelical pastor Chi Hyung Chung of the Christian Democratic Party considered the “local Bolsonaro” and accused Morales of turning Bolivia into Sodom and Gomorrah. The main opponents who had co-governed territorially with Morales in the last period of time, developed an anti-communist campaign based on fear of a second Venezuela, but also appealed to the legitimate discontent of the population with corruption or low wages. Once the voting was carried out, in which the right parties expected to have a second round and probably win the election, in the counting of the votes on the night of October 20, various irregularities were presented and denounced.
Given these irregularities in the counting and the government and opposition arrogance of declaring victory in such a closed scenario, a wave of protests led by Morales’s adversaries that began as vigils before the polling stations and then became massive mobilizations and an indefinite civic strike since October 23. For 17 days, it blocked the most populous and conservative region of Santa Cruz, but also the progressive centers of El Alto and La Paz.
Important mobilizations and road blockades were developed, with the participation of unemployed transport businessmen since November 6, university students, residents of popular neighborhoods and mining worker sectors. For its part, the government mobilized important trade union, indigenous and peasant forces in its support, denying any possibility of political dialogue and denouncing a civic coup. In the meantime, there were strong street clashes between supporters and opponents of the government, which added to the police repression, left the sad balance of 24 dead today. These actions denoted a clear coup plan, backed by the American government and the CIA. In the previous days there was already information about the preparations for this action. However, the Bolivian right managed to capture and capitalize on some popular discontent, at least at that time. The dissatisfaction with Evo and his government comes from different social sectors: regional, union (with the COB in the lead), coca growers, students, professionals, today appears mixed in this electoral framework and the right, reactionary and racist, tries to capitalize all it can. The rioting of repressive forces throughout the country demonstrates that the inheritance of Banzer’s coup thinking remains intact in the upper layers of the Bolivian Army and the police.
The opposition organized around the Civic Committee with a focus on Santa Cruz radicalized its position and Mesa went from accepting the OAS audit to reject it and proclaim “or the jail or the presidency”. He began a wave of violent protests that included barricades on multiple roads carried out with private vehicles of the protesters, the burning of government buildings and violence against state officials and their families, a movement that spliced with police riots, with some labor demands and political purposes. They developed from November 8 in Sucre, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz and from there to the rest of the country. At the time, supporters of the MAS developed actions to unblock barricades and concentrations, supported by sectors of the security forces, in which violent clashes with the opponents occurred.
Morales accepted the OAS review of the voting by accepting a second round of elections, while calling for a dialogue with the opposition on November 9. After the unfavorable results of this institution led by the United States and its political partners, the Masist government agrees to repeat the presidential elections on November 10. In the middle of the development of a great march towards La Paz, organized by the right-wing opposition that sought to reinstate “God” in the presidential palace and called an intervention of the Army, the dome of the Armed Forces “suggests” in open political intervention the resignation of the government, which finally became effective with the resignation of Morales and García Linera, amid complaints of coup d’etat and his departure to Mexico.
The cataract of Morales errors and his government is striking. More than mistakes, we must recognize they are part of a conception that claims changes can be made through bourgeois institutions. He did not firmly face the coup once it was launched; he summoned to negotiate the most fascist sectors – directly Nazi – that were promoting the same, he submitted himself to the opinions of the OAS (North American foreign policy organism and the interference of said organism in Venezuela and the double standards applied according to each country, that same OAS that supports the genocidal government of Colombia), among other facts. And he exiles himself just like that … With that conception, there are no substantive changes and it is not possible to face any advance of the right or coup d’etat.
However, this new coup attempt is part of US policy for the area. If they cannot control a country directly, if it shows some degree of independence in foreign policy, they destabilize it until overthrowing the government that they see as an obstacle. Proof of this is the daily attempts of the empire in Venezuela. The empire cares nothing about Venezuela’s political regime, its corruption, its ineptitude, its bureaucracy and bolirricos; it matters only to geopolitical effects and mainly because of its wealth, oil. Recall that in 2008, Bolivia expelled the DEA from the country – US anti-drug agency – for its destabilizing work and constant support for the opposition, even organizing armed groups. That has been the work of this organization and the CIA financed, organized, trained the extreme right groups to give coups and to return to the effective control of governments to these sectors and to the most recalcitrant, most neo-liberal bourgeoisie. The old politics of the empire, stronger than ever.
Evo Morales’ response, despite the coup d’etat, has been to resign as president and institutionally channel the discontent, calling for elections again, despite calls to mobilize against the coup in different locations in Bolivia as in solidarity in the rest of the continent. The Bolivian people, that people who have an immense experience of struggle, who starred in the 1952 Revolution and the gas and water war in more recent dates, which has a very rich millenary organizational tradition has shown incredible dignity and firmness. It has gone out to face the coup d’etat and developed relevant clashes with dead and wounded. It is a people that does not let itself run over and goes out with determination to face the reaction.
That popular mobilization opens a path. Not everything is said and the coup has not consolidated. Some speak of “civil war”, the truth is that the levels of struggle are growing in the Altiplano.
The coup d’etat represents not only the project of plundering natural resources under the interests of imperialism, but also exalts the most disastrous racist and colonial component of the more than 500 years of submission to indigenous peoples. It is a Christian-racist crusade against the Andean-Amazonian peoples, who organized from below and with the Whipala as a standard face repression of the army and ultra-reactionary attacks with high levels of radicalism. The struggle that indigenous peoples are carrying out in defense of the conquests of the people and their dignity, suggests that the articulating axis of resistance to the coup in Bolivia is the organized people fighting in the streets.
Argentina: Peronism returns
In Argentina, the triumph of Peronism was more adjusted than thought. The ultra-neoliberal Macri recovered 10 points of votes, reaching a total of 40%. Peronism could not exceed 50%. The social scenario in which this transfer of government occurs is undoubtedly marked by the enormous social and economic damage caused by the adjustment and hunger policies of the Macri government. As if that were not enough, Alberto Fernández and the Kirchner made repeated calls not to occupy the streets, not to mobilize, to “hold on until December”, “not to destabilize”, to “not generate a new 2001”. What was in the debate in these months were two clear strategies in the field of the Argentine left: to hold on the governance of Macri and vacating the streets, as the Kirchner and related sectors argued – by omission and electoral commitment were in this same logic the FIT and the PCR-, and on the other hand, a set of social and trade union organizations that promoted the fight in the streets without waiting for the polls, betting on a popular solution.
But that “quietism” not only allowed Macri to regain ground, but also prevented an solution to the crisis from below in Argentina. An attempt was made to place the popular movement after the Fernández-Fernández formula, but they could not. There were people on the streets and concrete conquests, few perhaps, but conquests that allow popular organizations to be toned. We know that the crude neoliberal advance, which hit hard those below during the last years, cannot wait for the times of politicking. We are aware that the transition of government is marked by repeated attempts by employers to impose a labor reform at all costs, and in any way, trying to roll back working conditions to the nineteenth century. In short, this change of government, far from being a brake on labor reform, can be presented as an opportunity for the dominant sectors to make up these changes under another type of modality, clearly more attenuated than what would have happened with a second Macri mandate.
Sense will continue to overflow and transcend the proposed solution from above, regaining confidence in the very strength of popular organizations.
Uruguay also turns right
Uruguay, on the other hand, presented as an “oasis of peace and stability” by the FA government – an image that has expanded throughout the region, which is continuity of that “Switzerland of America” - also seems to turn right. In the October elections the big winner has been the National Party. They have joined the historic Colorado Party and the novel Cabildo Abierto (Open Council), a party of military origin, made up of former soldiers and others in activity, and has grouped almost all fascist groups and personalities that were scattered in different sectors. Its candidate and main figure is Guido Manini Ríos, former Commander in Chief of the Army until a few months ago. Manini Ríos comes from a traditional family of Uruguayan politician, located in the spectrum of the extreme right. His grandfather was the founder of the most conservative sector of the Colorado Party in 1913 and his uncle was a member of the JUP (Juventud Uruguaya de Pie, fascist clash group in the years before the dictatorship). Family of landowners, politicians and military, all from the extreme right. Guido Manini Ríos is a friend of former General Villas Boas of Brazil and Vice President Mourao.
This sector -Cabildo Open- obtained about 11% of the votes. A high vote for a new party linked to the military. It is an extremely conservative party and that is clear to the whole of Uruguayan society. It is a direct ideological option that their voters make. In addition, in the previous months there were several complaints about neo-Nazi groups that were joining the Open Council and whose members were photographed with their leader. In addition, Guido Manini Ríos has opened a subpoena for having hidden information arising from statements by José “Nino” Gavazzo (repressor and torturer under the Condor Plan, directly involved in the disappearance and murder of fellow FAUs) in a “Court of honor” about their participation in murders of militants during the dictatorship. This party will have a parliamentary representation of 3 senators and 11 deputies. We can say that in Uruguay fascism now has its own party.
All right-wing parties support Lacalle Pou in the second round at the end of November. If the National Party candidate wins (belongs to the Herrerismo, historically conservative sector), he will implement a law of urgent consideration as he has already announced, in which among other measures he will promote the dismantling of fuels, regressive changes in education and labor relations, among other measures. For its part, the Colorado Party promotes the Chilean model, that is, pure and hard neoliberalism, but to the Uruguayan. From that combination of factors will emerge the “multicolored” government program as Lacalle Pou has called it.
The Broad Front also proposes adjustment, perhaps more gradual, without touching the social areas, as they declare. But the fiscal deficit is close to 5% and public accounts seem to be complicated by mid-2020, just when a new budget has to be approved. Debt interest payments due on those dates are an important bottleneck.
In Uruguay, two country “models” are not disputed in these elections: the model is only one and the right turn with adjustment and repression too. What is “defined” is the “dose”, the degree of the turn, whether it will be more abrupt or not.
Therefore, next year is expected adjustment and stick from above, but on the other hand, from below, Resistance.
A wave of rebellion in Central America and the Caribbean
There were great days of protest in Puerto Rico, initiated since July 13, with a march of hal a million people on days 17 and 22 and general strikes. They made the Governor Ricardo Roselló and the New Progressive Party resign due to corruption scandals with humanitarian aid and comments of contempt and discrimination against the population, of on the 24th of that same month, amid the deep economic crisis experienced on the island.
On the other hand, there were various waves of protest in Haiti against the government of businessman Jovenel Moise and the Haitian TetKale Party, which occurred in February, June and September, in the midst of the deep economic crisis, corruption scandals and an agreement of the government with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deepen neoliberal reforms. The mobilizations resume the protests against the electoral fraud of 2016, have included violence against the rich neighborhoods of the city of Port-au-Prince and various general strikes, with the tragic balance of 77 dead.
Likewise, the wave of struggles in Honduras since October 10 and widespread since day 18 against the government of Juan Orlando Hernández and the National Party dotted with corruption and drug trafficking scandals by Chapo Guzmán himself are still open. They followed the fights against electoral fraud in 2017, starring university students and popular sectors.
The massive popular mobilization in response to the economic crisis, active unemployment in the chain of production, distribution and services, social unrest with unpopular governments permeated by public and private corruption, and the contempt of the parliamentary bourgeoisie towards living conditions of the people explain this revitalizing wave of Central American and Caribbean rebellion that we must support and from which we need to learn.
The stage that opens from the rebellions in Ecuador and Chile
October brought changes and brought struggle of the peoples. It began with the uprising of the Ecuadorian people. Since October 2 there was an extensive popular mobilization in Ecuador that achieved an important victory against the neoliberal package promoted by the government of businessman Lenin Moreno of Alianza País, resuming the struggles of medical students, hunger strikes of teachers and retired electrical workers and civic unemployment in the Charqui region.
The Moreno government, deepening the pro-market policies developed by Rafael Correa himself, decided to implement in the economic crisis, a structural reform agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to obtain a loan for 4,200 million dollars that included decree 883 that imposed a drastic increase in the price of gasoline of up to 120% which in turn implied chains from all other economic sectors, and a labor reform that imposed a reduction of wages for the majority of temporary employees of the public sector in 20 %, more than 20 thousand dismissals of state workers, 50% reduction of the holiday period, as well as mandatory salary confiscations and the advance of a precarious labor reform. Before the gasoline rise decree, the people went out to the street. Lenin Moreno’s government reacted by decreeing the state of siege. The degree of popular mobilization increased with the strong presence of CONAIE marching on Quito. The government went away from the capital and it remained under popular control for several days. But let’s analyze it in more detail.
The pack hit workers and the peoples of the country, and aroused resistance. In the first place, it began a short stop of transport businessmen who blocked roads, border bridges and urban roads, organized in the Federation of Passenger Public Transport Cooperatives (Fenacotip) that lasted for 48 hours. After that, it was the important indigenous resistance of communities from mainly the Andean zone and to a lesser extent the Amazon, organized by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), previously hit by the correista repression, which became the effective direction of the movement. CONAIE organized the great march of tens of thousands of people, with hundreds of trucks overflowing with participants, over the city of Quito, which managed to fleetingly occupy the National Assembly on October 8 and occupy multiple public buildings throughout the country. The situation forced the government to move to Guayaquil and decree the State of exception, curfew in the capital, press censorship and militarization of the country.
Thirdly, an important labor protest was organized around the Unitary Workers Front (FUT), and important student and popular sectors, which developed partial strikes in oil refineries and an important general strike on October 9. The movement had a new peak in the mobilization for the day of the indigenous resistance on October 12, as well as multiple protests in the large cities of the interior, with axis in the center of Quito, where indigenous, peasants, workers and students occupied the city center and lived in camps organized in parks and private universities.
There were 11 days of mass protest, cacerolazos, roadblocks and roads in the middle of the country, and hundreds of thousands of people mobilized in the streets, with a tragic balance of 11 dead, 1300 wounded and 1100 detainees, who remembered the heroics rebellions of 1995 and 1997 against neoliberal policies. The natives decreed the state of exception in their territory and retained military and police deployed in repressive activities to be tried by their justice institutions. At the same time, there were burns and looting in some commercial areas, amid the government rhetoric of not going backwards with the reforms and propaganda accusations against Correa and Maduro of a misty destabilization plan.
Finally, the very weakened Moreno government sat down to negotiate on October 13 with the management of some of the organizations, suspending the decree that eliminated fuel subsidies, although the other aspects of the package still remain in force. Although the demand for Moreno’s resignation did not deepen, the government sought to exclude urban unions and organizations from negotiations and the elements of popular self-organization did not spread throughout the country, the massive protest was important, since it meant a re- articulation of the popular movement, weakened and fragmented by correismo, in the midst of increasing its political autonomy and intersectoral unity. In this context of rising struggles and seeking popular alternatives to the crisis and neoliberal adjustment, a re-articulation of some expression of organized anarchism in the country is desirable.
In short, indigenous organizations, peasants, labor unions, students, youth, are the participants and animators of this popular revolt that put the police and the Army in check.
Mobilizations with high levels of confrontation with the repressive forces and with total class independence, since the politicians linked to former President Correa who were present at the mobilizations were run. The people are not willing to be instrumentalized and used by the caste of politicians. A popular knowledge of profound implications for the realization of Popular Power.
The government had to repeal the decree and reverse its measures. A popular victory of a people that has brought down several governments.
In Chile, a protest by secondary students with massive underground lanes against the rise in the price of Santiago’s energy and public transport fares implemented on October 6, was strongly repressed, resulting in a day of national rebellion still open especially since the National protests on the 18th of the same month. The second government of Sebastián Piñera and the Chile Vamos coalition attacked the fairness of the youth protest and prepared for the application of the State Security Law, showing great disregard for the living conditions of the working class and the popular sectors and a closed defense of its neo-liberal economic policy, heiress of the military civic dictatorship of Pinochet and three decades of governments of the consensus and the right.
The student protest continued and was generalized by the capital, increasing the effects on the metro system, and sometimes the workers and users of the system. The early mobilization of education and health workers was added, and later organizations such as the Unitary Central of Workers (CUT) and the Confederation of Students of Chile (CONFECH) adhered to the mobilization, organizing large general strikes such as those of the 4 of November. This is how the cacerolazos and mass concentrations were generalized throughout the country, such as those experienced since October 20, with expressions such as the march of the 25th of the same month, the largest in the country’s recent history, which gathered about 1,200,000 people in Santiago with axis in Plaza Italia, the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people from Viña del Mar to the headquarters of the Congress in Valparaíso on the 27th or the march of the Limache settlers who traveled 100 kilometers to Santiago. The activity of the secondary students massively organized in the Coordinating Assembly of Secondary Students (ACES) and National Coordinator of Secondary Students (CONES), was key, but movements with a long history of combating the cracked Chilean bipartisan regime joined: the Mapuche people joined conducting concentrations in the Araucanía, destroying colonial symbols and the movement of women, for example.
In the midst of a popular mobilization, similar to the great days of national protest against the dictatorship of 1983 and 1986, and an increase in popular violence with barricades, looting and fires on various buildings, the Piñera government talked about the country being at war and the first lady spoke of an alien invasion, the state of exception and curfew was decreed in most cities of the country and a violent repression developed a generalized ill-treatment and torture, harassment and sexual abuse and repression by police and military forces. At the time Piñera was forced to repeal the rise in the subway ticket, enact minimum social reforms in terms of pension, minimum wage and freezing of rates, make a cosmetic change of cabinet, and engage in political dialogue to achieve a possible constitutional reform.
Although seemingly worn out, the day of popular protest in Chile is still open, and territorial assemblies in public squares, schools, universities, neighborhoods and unions remain under the slogan “Chile woke up” and a growing demand to Piñera. So far there is an unfortunate balance of 30 dead and 2,000 injured and 5,000 arrested. It is noteworthy that the activity of organized anarchists, although minority, has been important and in the midst of the struggle, forms of popular self-organization flourished. The current movement can achieve important economic and salary conquests, press for legislative reforms in transport, education, pensions or health and lead to a clear increase in the levels of organization, mobilization and popular self-management.
The Chilean people have cracked 30 years of neoliberalism and the entire post-dictatorship heritage. The repression was hard but Carabineros was overwhelmed by people in the streets, that’s why Piñera decreed the State of Exception and the curfew, removing the Army from the barracks. The people challenged both impositions and continued on the street.
Mass mobilizations in urban centers, others in neighborhoods, barricades, demonstrations of anger and rejection of model symbols … The people has broken normality in Chile, with and without a general strike. The mobilizations continue in a process of organization and resistance, a wide and rich experience accumulates and a new stage opens. Uncertain, but a stage of street people defying power.
However, the leftist parties, for the most part, are promoting the convening of a Constituent Assembly that provides Chile with a new Constitution, knocking down the inheritance of the Pinochet dictatorship. It is a meaningful claim, since part of the inheritance of Pinochetism is the Constitution and the legal order that guarantees and that no government dared to touch – including those of the Concertación -. But it enables a “solution from above” to the crisis opened by popular mobilization. It enables the parties of the system to find a “solution” to the problems of the Chileans, guaranteeing the same rights… to the possessing and dominant classes in the country and to that odious guarantor institution of the bourgeois order that is the Army. No Constitution under capitalism will touch private property in all its terms or guarantee the dismantling of the Armed Forces, nor will it socialize the profits and property of copper. The experience of Allende and Popular Unity speaks clearly of its own, of the limits that “tolerates” the bourgeoisie and the empire.
But the most complex of the Constituent is that it places the solution to the hands of the oppressors and those willing to succeed them in their role, popular needs and their inevitable deception, because there are a thousand ways to circumvent consecrated legal texts. In this way, the people are placed again as a tail van of the parties of the system, of their discussions, obliges them to take sides for one of them and set aside the organization and the popular cause. It is a corral of branches.
Instead, the alternative is in that same down, which has shaken and cracked the model. A process of unification of popular struggles, in search of a crisis solution plan built by popular organizations. An articulation of the oppressed from the bottom up, building Popular Power, with self-management and direct democracy. Strengthening popular organizations and a process of convergence must be the objectives of the militancy of revolutionary intention.
We want to be clear: when we say Popular Power we say capacity for action and decision of the people, of their grassroots organizations articulated in a federalist way, from bottom to top. It is a purely popular process, outside the State and against it. We can mention as historical examples the Collectivizations in full Spanish Revolution, the Machnovitchina in Ukraine during the Russian Revolution, the experience in Rojava today, but also countless processes that Latin American peoples have built and build where the participation of those below is decisive. For now, the mobilizations continue and that process remains open. Vast experiences and teachings must be taken out of there, because a new stage opens.
We want to express clearly all our support to the comrades of the Santiago Anarchist Federation (Chile) and the Libertarian Revolution of La Paz (Bolivia) who are inserted in the mobilizations and promoting a work orientation in the midst of the struggle.
The people’s time
With the people of Ecuador and Chile a time of people opens in Latin America. Hopefully, other towns, rebellions, events that can enable pre-revolutionary situations or pre-announce them. In each country at its own pace, with its idiosyncrasy and according to each specific situation. All this in a medium-long term perspective.
A cycle of popular struggles against neoliberalism and its consequences opens. Because this stage of capitalism, of crude neoliberalism, generates, without a doubt, more resistance, people in the street. Given so much dispossession and repression, the people mobilize. It is not an exclusive right cycle, as it has been proclaimed. Surely the progressivities – as we met them until 2015- are coming to an end. Those that last, will change by influence of the right, the adjustment imposed from above and the economic limits of the system on a world scale. They return for total looting, but the one below is fermenting their responses and a really popular solution.
While the levels of repression will increase, the teachings left by the Ecuadorian and Chilean peoples are clear: repression, including the Armed Forces, with people on the street and practicing direct action at all levels can be overwhelmed. As an example, in Ecuador a tank was put out of combat by the action of the people.
It is essential to strengthen popular organizations, to contribute in the debates about the ways and paths of change, to clarify that the paths the system always opens, end in a precipice. It is from below that strong people and federalism are built, the only organizational mode that relies on popular organizations and not on self-chosen avant-garde and purportedly “enlightened”. There is no possible solution “from above” in the areas and institutions of the system. Those spaces can only serve to the bourgeoisie and the empire. Change comes from the people and what the people can build, with its limitations and problems, but it will be much richer than the rotten bourgeois institutions, institutions of oppression and death.
The life and construction of a different society is at stake. In that fight we are embarked and Organized Anarchism – the Specifism – has much to say in proposals for authentic emancipation.
No to the state hit in Bolivia !!
Long live the resistance of the peoples !!
To strengthen the fight and popular processes !!
For the construction of popular power !!
For socialism and freedom !!
Up those who fight !! Arriba los que luchan !!
Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU)
Federación Anarquista de Rosario (FAR) – Argentina
Organización Anarquista de Córdoba (OAC) – Argentina
Coordinación Anarquista Brasileña (CAB)
Grupo Libertario Vía Libre – Colombia
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